I really hate to break it to you, but summer is dwindling away here -- and the latest bellwether is the smart lighting stalwart Philips Hue,of announcing new products . Sure enough, today the brand is introducing all sorts of additions to its product lineup, including new , a second-gen version of the portable , and new Philips Hue smart plugs and smart buttons for triggering your lights.
Philips Hue parent company Signify is on the ground in Berlin to debut everything at. We'll be sure to update this post as soon as we get a close look at all of it for ourselves. For now, here's a quick rundown of everything new:
- Philips Hue Vintage-Style LED Bulbs (with Zigbee and Bluetooth)
$25 - $33, available October 2019
- Philips Hue Go (second-gen with Zigbee and Bluetooth)
$80, available November 2019
- Philips Hue White Candelabra LED (with Zigbee and Bluetooth)
$33 2-pack, available September 2019
- Philips Hue White Ambiance/White and Color GU10 Spotlights (with Zigbee and Bluetooth)
$50 2-pack, available September 2019
- Philips Hue Smart Plug (with Zigbee and Bluetooth)
$40, available October 2019
- Philips Hue Smart Button (with Zigbee and Bluetooth)
$20, available October 2019
It's all about Bluetooth
First things first -- the big story with Philips Hue this year is that. Everything still uses Zigbee , but adding in that additional Bluetooth radio lets users skip the Bridge altogether and connect the bulbs direct to their phone or tablet for simplified local lighting control, including the ability to pair direct . From there, adding in the Bridge enables access to advanced Hue features like and , as well as integrations like that still require a Hue Bridge.
It's a big change for the brand, but also a smart move because it means that curious shoppers only need to pick up a single bulb in order to take Philips Hue for a test drive. Hue's white light LEDs start-- before, you needed to spend or so on an entire Philips Hue starter kit that packages the bulbs with the Bridge. Make that if you wanted a kit with bulbs that changed colors. Now, you can play with a color-changing Bluetooth Hue bulb for a buy-in of $50.
That's still pricey at a time when, but it's still a big step in the right direction. And, with lots of new Bluetooth-enabled bulbs joining the lineup, you'll have all sorts of relatively inexpensive entry points into the Hue ecosystem.
Modern smarts, vintage looks
Front and center among these new Bluetooth-enabled Hue bulbs is a new suite of vintage-styled Hue White lights with fake filaments inside. Rather than the glowing tungsten of Thomas Edison, the filaments are composed of a series of light-emitting diodes strung together in a line and then twisted into artsy spirals for an attractive, old-school aesthetic.
The rumor mill nailed this one earlier in the summer when predicted in June that we'd see three different versions of the bulb launching this fall.. Signify made it official today, with new vintage Hue bulbs coming in a classic A shape, an elongated ST19 shape, and as a G25-shaped globe. Hat-tip to the European tech blog iCulture, which
Signify pegs each of the three designs at 530 lumens bright at an extra-warm, candle-like color temperature of 2,100 K. Philips Hue Head of Technology George Yianni calls that "the sweet spot" for bulbs like these, and I'd tend to agree. At 530 lumens, they fall into the middle ground between 40W accent lights (450 lumens) and your common, 60W primary light source (800 lumens). That makes them bright enough to help light up the room, but not so bright that it's uncomfortable to look directly at them, which is important, since the whole point is to use them in exposed bulb setups and not to hide them under a lampshade.
Yianni calls the trio of old-timey bulbs "a first wave," saying that, over time, the plan is to add more bulbs like them to the Philips Hue lineup. It might be a while before any of them change colors, though. The diodes themselves can only put out one color at a time, so you'd need different diodes for different colors. That's fine if the diodes are hidden under a clouded bulb like with regular Hue LEDs, but with vintage-style bulbs like these where the diodes are visible, it would make for ugly-looking filaments with lots of weird gaps depending on which color or color temperature setting you were using.
"We've not yet found a way to make it look good enough for our aesthetic standards," Yianni says, though he adds that color-changing versions are definitely on the wish list.
A Hue Go that goes wherever you want
One new product that will change colors: A second-gen version of the Philips Hue Go, a portable, bowl-shaped light fixture that you can unplug and take with you around the house thanks to a built-in battery.
The addition of Bluetooth seems particularly relevant here. With, you need to be within range of a Hue Bridge in order to control it with the Hue app. Now, you'll be able to take the Go wherever you like -- camping trips, cookouts, the beach, you name it -- and control the brightness and color direct from your phone.
To that end, the new Go is also promising much better battery life -- up from 2-3 hours to as much as 18 hours. It's brighter, too, with a maximum light output of 520 lumens, up from 400 lumens from the first version. Signify also says that it'll dim down all the way to 1.2 lumens, which might make the Hue Go an ideal pick for your kid's nightstand, especially if they enjoy usingto ease them out of bed in the morning.
A brainy button and an overpriced plug
From theto the , we've seen a growing number of Philips Hue accessories over the past year that each aim to give users better physical control over their smart lights. Now, Signify is adding a product of its own to the pile with a new single-button remote that's called, quite simply, the Philips Hue Smart Button.
Promising three years of juice from a single coin-style battery, the Smart Button pairs with Hue bulbs over Bluetooth or Zigbee. From there, just click once to turn the lights on or off, double click to change between scenes, or long press to dim up and down. Signify adds that you can program the button to turn the lights on to different settings depending on the time of day, which is a nice touch.
The Button also includes a built-in magnet that lets you stick the thing to a baseplate in the wall when you aren't using it, but you could just as easily nest it on the fridge or any other magnet-friendly surface.
The other new Philips Hue accessory is one that users have wanted for years now -- a Philips Hue Smart Plug. It'll work just like other smart plugs that let you automate whatever you plug in behind it. The obvious appeal for Philips Hue users is that you'll be able to use it to add lamps, string lights and other fixtures to your smart lighting setup.
Signify adds that the plug "works with everything Hue works with," which brings Alexa, Google Assistant, IFTTT, Apple HomeKit and more into play.
The only downside is the absurd $40 price tag. Most other smart plugs , and if you're controlling your lights via a third-party platform like Alexa or Apple HomeKit anyway, then you won't care at all if your plug doesn't show up in the Hue app.
We'll be testing all of the new Hue products at the CNET Smart Home in the coming weeks, so stay tuned to see how those brightness, battery-life and connectivity claims hold up. But as far as first impressions go, each one seems like a sensible addition to the Philips Hue ecosystem -- and with the exception of the plug, the prices aren't too painful, either.